One does not visit New York intending it to be low cost. We **attempted** to make this trip a more cost effective one vowing to eat mostly dollar slices of pizza and chill out after going severely over budget on our recent South Africa trip. Easier said than done!
Each and every trip my husband does a post-mortem on our budget and actual spending on a trip to make sure we are on target and it flows into our monthly budget / spending tracking. Overages impact spend on future trips and underspending allows us to allocate more towards a new trip. Typically we either meet or slightly exceed budget.
Here are our key takeaways for the NYC Marathon budget strategy:
Location Location Location (of our Hotel)
We tried something a little crazy in 2019 and stayed in Jersey City to save a few bucks. It added about 30min to our commute time taking the path train and then subway and walking to and from our lodging. We did it, it sucked, we wanted something in Manhattan this time around. We opted for a Hyatt chain hotel in the Financial District that was close to the Fulton Street exit on the subway but certainly not Mid-town. Our budgeted nightly rate was $170 which is probably as good as we would get without doing a hostel and we were able to apply points to get the hotel for free. By picking a non-touristy part of the city we were able to keep our lodging cost down and with Patrick’s credit card churning “bonus” we took the $300 savings and applied to our stay as well.
There is an element of knowing oneself and what you’re willing to put up with when it comes to Public Transportation. I get that. Patrick and I are 28 and still willing to put up with the annoyance of not having the most expedient or comfortable journey and opted for the 7-day unlimited subway pass at $34 per person. If we had taken a taxi from the airport to our hotel that would easily be $50-60, so our payback period was one trip to the hotel on the cost of the subway passes. Thankfully it is really easy to hop on the bus that goes from the airport to the nearest subway line. If you aren’t pressed for time, opting for public transit is a very cost effective way to go. My parents on the other hand aren’t willing to deal with crowded subway cars and the constant up and down of the subway stations. Their transportation spend was probably several hundred dollars more expensive since they opted for taxis everywhere. One handy thing about the subway is that they take tap on your credit card now. If you don’t go for the timed pass, it is easy to tap your credit card for single use rides rather than getting the flimsy plastic metrocard. Our budgeted amount was ~$500 and we spent only $142.
Every Broadway Show is going to be amazing
Somehow, we were peer pressured by my parents into going to see Moulin Rouge at $269 per person. OUCH. Yes, it was a fantastic show and absolutely worth it. That said, tickets at the TKTS booth can run as low as $60 per person and are still fantastic shows. We spent about $300 more than planned, and I’m still pained thinking about it.
All in all we came in ~$60 over budget.
Pretty good compared to other travel budgets! Any pro tips for making NY a bit more affordable for the average tourist or marathon runner? Would love to hear it.
Check out related posts:
New York City Marathon 2021 Race Recap
What to Bring to the Start Line of the New York City Marathon
New York City Marathon Long Weekend Trip Packing List
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